Introduced in 2011 the charge is a fiendish swipe at income from all sources. It applies to total income, not just taxable income! So although you may have no income tax liability, you could have a USC liability.
There is almost no ways around USC but there are quirks you should be aware of the top ten are listed here.
- If total annual income is less than €10,036, USC does not apply, but if income is one euro more, the USC is €200.76. So micro earners beware.
- A reduced rate applies if you have a medical card (a GP only card is not a medical card for these purposes). This is important for employers, who must know this in good time to correctly operate the system.
- A reduced rate applies to the over 70’s.
- Extra USC is payable if total earnings are greater than €100,000 - but only if you are self employed. If you are a PAYE worker, lower rates apply!
- If your income is exempt from income tax because you are an artist, hold woodlands or have income from stud fees from greyhounds or horses, you still have to pay USC on this exempted income.
- No USC arises on Department of Social Protection payments including children’s allowance and state maternity payments.
- No USC arises on Dividends from Credit Unions or bank interest subject to DIRT.
- No USC arises on redundancy payments.
- There is no reduction in USC for pension contributions made by self employed/employees, but employer contributions are exempt.
- There are additional amounts payable for bonuses paid to bank employees in state supported banks and those availing of particular property tax shelters.
For those of you who want to know more, a reliable reference point that deals with the issues in an intelligible way is: